Git Hayetsk, representing the traditional dances of the Haida, Haisla, Tahltan, Tlingit, Lil’wat and Musqueam nations, perform outside the Royal B.C. Museum at the Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Festival on Sunday. Including First Nations in local Canada 150 celebrations is an important step in ongoing relationship building. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Shared Canada 150 celebrations simply feel good

Inclusion of First Nations in events, planning, is an evolution in relationship

As Canada gets ready for one of the biggest parties in its history, it’s nice to see the region help celebrate those who occupied this vast land long before the British North America Act was ever conceived.

Kicking off with the Victoria Aboriginal Festival last weekend, the recognition of our First Peoples this week continued with National Aboriginal Day on June 21. While areas dedicated to tourism in the city have many ongoing references to First Nations culture, the overall impact of this special day is still lost on many residents.

First proclaimed back in 1996, National Aboriginal Day was meant to celebrate and recognize the cultures and contributions made by all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. We’re a long way from seeing this day become a statutory holiday for all, but some groups and organizations are working hard to keep the recognition factor in the public eye.

The City of Victoria, for example, declared last June that 2017, Canada’s sesquicentennial year, would be “a year of reconciliation” and committed to having that theme guide the city’s Canada 150 celebrations and events.

That commitment to include First Nations art, music, food and other culture has helped maintain the relationship-building necessary to improve the lot of our aboriginal friends and neighbours and create community harmony.

Canada has done a lot of good since its founding 150 years ago. Despite that progress, there’s no larger black mark on our history than how this country has treated our aboriginal peoples.

During celebrations of Canada’s birthday and pride in being Canadian, try not to take for granted the stories and songs shared by our First Nations. They and their ancestors have loved and cared for this land far longer than the relative newcomers in our midst.

Just Posted

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

Oak Bay United preparing entirely new development application

Three scenarios being considered for Granite Street redesign

Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

View Royal Mayor calls province’s actions “heavy handed” and “unusual”

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read